Mapping the Effects of Long-term Hydrologic Stress, Sea-level Rise, and Hurricane Irma on Coastal Habitats in Southwest Florida

Date and Time: 
Thu, 07/18/2019 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Speaker(s): 
Matt McCarthy and Brita Jessen
Location: 
Online webinar

Hurricane Irma made landfall in southwest Florida within the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in September of 2017 as a Category 3 storm with winds in excess of 115 mph. For some areas within the reserve, the impact of the storm compounded the stress caused by decades of human development and changes to water flow patterns. Managers of the reserve want to better understand the synergistic effects of chronic stress from human modification or other drivers (e.g., sea level rise) and acute impacts from Hurricane Irma. One approach is to measure habitat structure and change in the time preceding and following the major storm event.

This webinar will describe the use of advanced satellite imagery to map the damage, death, and recovery of mangroves with a time series of images from 2010 to 2018. Dr. Matt McCarthy will share the methods used to map the landscape and evaluate change. Dr. Brita Jessen will provide background for the study and discuss the management implications for the reserve and other coastal areas. Matt and Brita have been collaborating on a one year-year catalyst project that has relevance to coastal land managers interested in mapping habitat change.

About the Speakers: 

MMcCarthy

Dr. Matthew McCarthy is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science. He specializes in remote sensing and large-scale coastal mapping with supercomputing technologies and advanced image processing techniques. He has applied remote sensing methods to study a variety of issues, including mangroves, seagrasses, coral reefs, coastal geomorphology, sea-level rise, aquaculture and public health.

BJessen

Dr. Brita Jessen is the research manager at the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. She specializes in ecosystem ecology of coastal wetlands. As the research team lead, Dr. Jessen supports long-term monitoring programs related to water quality, sea level rise, habitat change, and wildlife, and works across departments to facilitate the translation of current research into management and policy.

Learn more about: Using Advanced Mapping to Measure Changes in Mangrove and Seagrass Habitat over Time

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